Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was drafted by the team in 2003 and 14 seasons later he has created a legacy that makes him one of the greatest outside linebackers to ever play in the NFL. Suggs won defensive rookie of the year in 2003, defensive player of the year in 2011 and is third all-time in NFL playoff history in sacks with 12.5 only trailing Willie McGinest (16.0 sacks) and Bruce Smith (14.5). Not to mention, Suggs is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time AP first team selection and a Super Bowl champion.
In the regular season, Suggs is 21st on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 114.5 (including eight this year) to go along with his 28 forced fumbles, 13 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions. When we talk about the Ravens defense historically, we always talk about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as legends. I think it is time that we start talking about Suggs in that category in terms of the hall of fame. To put it in perspective, Suggs is only 18 sacks away in the regular season from tying Lawrence Taylor.
You could make the argument that Suggs hasn’t lost a big step at the age of 34. At age 34, we saw good players in Lewis and Reed respectively, but it was more visible in terms of physicality that the wear and tear started to take a toll on their bodies. With Suggs, even with two torn Achilles injuries and two torn bicep injuries all occurring in the last four years, he hasn’t lost that much of a step which is incredible. In terms of peak value, Suggs hasn’t reached that level in comparison to Lewis and Reed, but he looks like a player who’s steady longevity is going to outlast both of them.
You won’t find five outside linebackers in the NFL today who can rush the passer and set the edge in stopping the run the way Suggs can. You won’t find many outside linebackers in NFL history who can do that either. His flexibility to be a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end helped the Ravens become the dominant unit on defense it has been for almost a decade and a half.
At the pace that Suggs is going on now, when he decides to hang up the cleats, he might end up being a first ballot hall of fame selection.